As fans eagerly await the upcoming Fare Thee Well shows, the Grateful Dead have announced their largest boxed set to date to celebrate the band's long strange trip along with their 50th anniversary. The collection boasts a whopping 80 discs, featuring 30 live shows, and will arrive in September. A four-CD version of the set, containing one song from each of the 30 concerts, will also be released.
30 Trips Around the Sun will be available in an ornate 80-disc box set and as a custom gold lightning bolt USB drive with the Dead's 50th-anniversary logo on the side. Both are available for pre-order now at Dead.net and will be released on Sept. 18 for the price of $699.98. The box set is limited to 6,500 copies -- a nod to the Dead's beginnings in 1965 -- while only 1,000 USB drives are being produced; both will contain FLAC (96/24) and MP3s.
The career-spanning collection features 30 unreleased live shows, one for each year the band was together from 1966 to 1995. It is packed with over 73 hours of music, including a track from their earliest recording sessions back in 1965. The first four shows announced for the set include a 1967 show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, a 1979 concert at Cape Cod Coliseum, a 1987 show at New York's Madison Square Garden and a 1994 show in Boston. The remaining shows will be revealed in the coming weeks on Dead.net.
The 80-disc set comes in an individually numbered ornate box. It contains the aforementioned 80 CDs and a gold-colored 7-inch vinyl single that bookends the band's career. The A-side is "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)" from the band's earliest recording session in 1965, with the B-side of the last song the band ever performed together live, "Box of Rain," recorded during their final encore at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9, 1995.
The box also comes with a 288-page book that features an extensive, career-spanning essay written by Nick Meriwether, who oversees the Dead archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with special remembrances of the band submitted by fans and more.
"When we began discussing audio projects to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead back in 2012, we knew we wanted to do something completely unprecedented," the Grateful Dead's archivist and producer David Lemieux said. "We could think of nothing more exciting or ambitious than a career-spanning overview of the band's live legacy focused on what best tells the story: complete concerts." He added, "Our first criterion was the very best live music to represent any given year in the band's history. We wanted to make sure that there were not only the tent-pole shows that fans have been demanding for decades but also ones that are slightly more under the radar, but equally excellent. For those who listen to the entire box straight through, chronologically, the narrative of the Grateful Dead's live legacy will be seen as second to none in the pantheon of music history."
If the nearly $700 price tag is too steep for some, a four-CD and digital version of the collection titled 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995 will also be available on Sept. 18 for $44.98. It features one song from each of the 30 unreleased concerts, along with the 1965 recording of "Caution" and an essay by Dead aficionado Jesse Jarnow dissecting every track in the collection.
As previously reported, the core four surviving members of the group (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann) will perform five concerts on June 27 and 28 in Santa Clara, California, and on July 3, 4 and 5 at Chicago's Soldier Field along with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and pianist Bruce Hornsby, who played with the Dead in the late '80s and into the '90s. All five shows will be simulcast on the Web, if you can't be there in person.
Stay tuned to Dead.net, as they will announce more shows featured in the 30 Trips Around the Sun set in the coming weeks.
30 Trips Around the Sun 80-Disc Box Set
First Four Shows Announced
11/10/67 - Shrine Auditorium - Los Angeles, CA
10/27/79 - Cape Cod Coliseum - South Yarmouth, MA
9/18/87 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
10/1/94 - Boston Garden - Boston, MA
*More shows will be announced at Dead.net in the coming weeks*
A gold 7-inch vinyl single
A-Side: "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" - From first recording session in 1965
B-Side: "Box Of Rain" – Live from Soldier Field, Chicago, 7/9/95
30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995
1. "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" – 1965
2. "Cream Puff War" – 1966
3. "Viola Lee Blues" – 1967
4. "Dark Star" – 1968
5. "Doin' That Rag" – 1969
6. "Dancing In The Street" – 1970
7. "The Rub" – 1971
8. "Tomorrow Is Forever" – 1972
9. "Here Comes Sunshine" - 1973
1. "Uncle John's Band" – 1974
2. "Franklin's Tower" - 1975
3. "Scarlet Begonias" – 1976
4. "Estimated Prophet" – 1977
5. "Samson and Delilah" – 1978
6. "Lost Sailor/Saint Of Circumstance" – 1979
7. "Deep Elem Blues" - 1980
1. "Shakedown Street" - 1981
2. "Bird Song" - 1982
3. "My Brother Esau" - 1983
4. "Feel Like A Stranger" – 1984
5. "Let It Grow" – 1985
6. "Comes A Time" - 1986
7. "Morning Dew" - 1987
8. "Not Fade Away" - 1988
1. "Blow Away" - 1989
2. "Ramble On Rose" - 1990
3. "High Time" - 1991
4. "Althea" - 1992
5. "Broken Arrow" - 1993
6. "So Many Roads" - 1994
7. "Visions Of Johanna" - 1995